After the qualification of the Black Stars to the final of the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea, the attention of the nation will be diverted from the continental tournament to the domestic league.
Mas-Ud Dramani and his Kotoko side will hosts to a troubled Hearts of Oak side in Kumasi for the bragging rights early on in the season.
The Phobians head into the fixture at the back of some inconsistent performances in the young season so far, encapsulated in their 4-2 spanking at the hands of Berekum Chelsea and their 2-2 drawn game at home to Medeama SC.
The latest 1-1 draw with Liberty Professionals sum up the chequered campaign of the visitors.
Herbert Addo’s team head to Kumasi with confidence very low after their rather inconsistent season so far.
Languishing in the relegation after week 5 in the league, the 20 times league champions will need to get different paths to score aside the red-hot Gilbert Fiamenyo.
The return of Soulama Abdoulaye might add some steel to Hearts but their disjointed midfield will need to gel if they are to stop Kotoko’s well-composed middle men like Michael Akuffo, Jordan Opoku, Kwadwo Poku and new signing Jackson Owusu.
Statistics on Asante Kotoko versus Hearts of Oak
The champions will be boosted by their morale boosting 0-0 drawn game away to Wa Allstars on Wednesday, though lady luck played a key role.
The workaholic Akuffo will have to better his performance against Wa Allstars if his side is to keep the 3 points in Kumasi.
Heading into the fixture on the back of an improved 188 minutes without conceding a league goal, the defensive contribution of Amos Frimpong and Abeiku Ainosoon will have to be raised if they are to stop the league’s top scorer from causing havoc in Kumasi.
The league’s third best defence will have to face the league most potent attacker, though the Phobians have the worst defense in the league.
Statistically, the Hearts of Oak preferred playing away against Kumasi Asante Kotoko to any other side in the last decade.
The 19 goals scored in this fixture in the past ten years promise another tight match on Saturday.
The Phobians’ last defeat in this fixture came some 1,028 days ago, with the last two meetings ending in a stalemate.
The return of Ahmed Toure and Obed Owusu to the starting XI may just be the boost to run riot at home to their inconsistent Accra representatives.
It is the most anticipated fixture on the domestic front but came at the wrong time.
By Saani Abacha
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